Italian seasoning is a blend of dried herbs and spices that is used to flavor many Italian dishes. If you don’t have any on hand, there are a few substitutes for Italian seasoning that will work just as well.
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When you are in a pinch and do not have Italian seasoning, there are a few substitutes you can use.
You can whip up your own Italian seasoning from the individual dried herbs, or impress your guests by making one from fresh herbs.
Alternatively, depending on what you are cooking you may be able to substitute another herb mix. Many other herb mixes have a similar combination of herbs or flavor profile to Italian seasoning and can be successfully substituted in a recipe.
What herb are in Italian seasoning?
The first thing to know when looking for a substitute for Italian seasoning is what is Italian seasoning made of.
Different brands use different recipes, but there are a few basic herbs that are almost always used. These are:
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Dried rosemary
Italian herb mixes often contain other herbs with similar flavor profiles such as thyme, parsley, marjoram, savory and/or sage.
They also may contain black pepper, garlic or onion powder.
5 Best Substitutes for Italian Seasoning
1. Make a homemade Italian seasoning mix
There is a good chance you have most of the herbs you need to make your own Italian herb seasoning mix in the pantry already.
To make a simple DIY Italian seasoning, mix together equal amounts of dried basil, dried oregano and dried thyme. Other herbs with a similar flavor profile can be added to adjust the flavor for different types of recipes (think rubbed sage for pork).
For detailed instructions and some more flavor options, see my recipe: Homemade Italian Seasoning Mix.
2. Use fresh herbs
If you have fresh herbs at home you can make a simple mix of the same herbs used for the herb mix above. Rinse and pat the herbs dry, then finely chop them before using them in your recipe.
Use 1½ parts fresh herbs for 1 part dried herbs (e.g. if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning mix, use 1½ tablespoons of fresh herbs).
Also, fresh herbs are usually added to a dish closer to the end of the cooking time to preserve their delicate flavor, so bear that in mind if you decide to make a fresh Italian herb mix.
3. Substitute another herb mix
Maybe you’re out of Italian seasoning, but you have another herb mix in the pantry.
Many other herb mixes have a similar blend of herbs to Italian seasoning and can be used in its place with similar results.
Check out the ingredients to see if the main components if Italian seasoning are there. Look for a blend that has high amounts of basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary (the herbs appear close to the start of the ingredients list).
If the herb mix contains other herbs too that is most likely ok, but be on the look out for anything with a strong flavor that could significantly alter the taste of your recipe like chili or other spices.
Some good options are:
- Greek seasoning
- Herbes de Provence
- French herbs
- Fines herbes
- Mixed herbs
4. Substitute a single herb
If you don’t have the right herbs to make a DIY Italian seasoning, and are also out of other herb mixes, then you can use any of the basic ingredients on their own (or in combination if you have two).
Basil and oregano would be the best choice, but thyme or rosemary will also do in a pinch.
5. Use pesto
Depending on the recipe that you are cooking you may also be able to use pesto as a substitute for Italian seasoning.
Basil pesto is usually around a quarter fresh basil. It is a good option to add some Italian flavor to sauces, soups or marinades.
If you’re looking for a good Italian seasoning substitute, there are several herbs and spices that can be used to create a comparable flavor. Herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme are typical ingredients in Italian seasoning, so these can be used individually or in combination to create a similar flavor.
Another option is to use a prepared herb blend that contains some of these same herbs. With a little experimentation, you can easily find a suitable substitute for Italian seasoning that works well in your favorite recipes.
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